Various factor causes GERD, they include hiatal hernia, pregnancy, overweight, medication, infection, bacterial/fungal overgrowth and smoking.
What causes Acid Reflux GERD?
The True Cause of Heartburn and GERD is a result of backup of acidic content of stomach raises into the esophagus due to too much gastric pressure in the stomach.
Here are the list of causes of acid reflux:
- Contrary to popular belief, acid reflux are not due to too much of stomach acid instead low or not enough stomach acid. Stomach acid's acidity makes the sphincter to close properly. Thus in many people low stomach acid is the reason behind acid reflux.
- Too much of gas: Ingestion of gas producing food and drinks (such as beans, potato, carbonated drinks, excessive lactose). Poorly functioning gallbladder, liver or pancreas resulting in digestive enzymes or bile shortage that leads to poor digestion and gas buildup.
- Parasites: Too many opportunistic bacteria in the colon causing methane gas to travel upwards, putting pressure on the stomach. Candida overgrowth causing fermentation and gas production. H. pylori in the stomach producing gas and increasing stomach pressure.
- Anatomical abnormalities such as a hiatal hernia may also contribute to GERD. When the stomach moves up into the chest through the opening in the diaphragm called hiatal hernia. This diaphragm acts as an additional sphincter around the stomach to hold back stomach content. This protruded stomach above diaphragm allowing acid reflux into the esophagus causing unpleasant symptoms of heartburn.
- During pregnancy, the baby puts pressure on the esophageal valve and make it relax and allowing acid reflux. Sleep with elevated head and eating small means can reduce chances of acid reflux and heartburn.
- Being overweight or obese put strain on the LES allow acid reflux. Additionally, obesity often associated with low stomach acid levels, low stomach acid in-turn associated with acid reflux.
- Tight fitted clothing, mainly belts puts pressure on the intestinal tract, pushing the stomach up and raises gastric pressure.
- Wrong body posture puts extra pressure on the stomach, which allow acid reflux.
- Frequently taking larger meals, specifically before bedtime can weaken LES causing acid reflux and heartburn.
- Cigarette smoking can weaken elasticity of the LES, relax it, and give way for acid reflux. Quit smoking can help establish normalcy.
- Medications such as ibuprofen, muscle relaxers, BP medications, and aspirin can influence acid reflux and GERD.
- H. pylori infection’s first symptom is heartburn in most of the population. If left untreated, this infection can cause stomach ulcer and even cancer.
- Too much of exercise, specifically weight lifting puts excess strain on the abdominal cavity.
- Magnesium deficiency affects proper functioning of the sphincter and allow acid reflux.
- Low chloride diet can lead to a decrease in stomach acid, which in-turn cause acid reflux, heartburn and GERD.
Causes of vicious cycle of acid reflux
Vicious Cycle of acid reflux may be due to carbohydrate malabsorption and bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine produces intestinal gas that causes acid reflux. Limiting consumption of specific difficult-to-digest carbohydrates can help prevent this bacterial overgrowth and provide an effective treatment for GERD.